As a continuation of my “old guy rant” of the classic “You kids don’t know what good movies are….” I present to you one of the all time great sports movies:
If there ever was a movie about overcoming the odds, grinding it out and the benefits never quitting, this is it. Click here if you want to read the synopsis of the movie, even that should give you chills. It does for me.
Life is about hardships, plain and simple. Each one of us has been handed a set of circumstances and problems to overcome during the course of our time here on Earth, and there is no getting around that. Privilege is a state of mind…remember that. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was “privileged” to have had obstacles to overcome in my life. For example, when I was a kid I got picked on all the time about being so skinny; now, people are envious that I am in such good shape and don’t really look my age. What was seemingly a “bad thing” for a portion of my life turned out to be a blessing over the long haul. I was not born an athlete, a writer, or anything else. I MADE myself into these things, despite what was stacked against me. I learned that work ethic overcomes most of the obstacles that are set in your way. That is exactly what the movie RUDY is about.
I don’t want to give the movie away by discussing it too much, but let me put it this way, you may have what is contextually a lifetime of work for one shining moment of glory. And there are no guarantees that you succeed in that moment, but at least you got your shot. Most people don’t, they choose the comfort of the sidelines, watching others who are willing to put in the hard yards and lay it on the line for the world to see and judge. They may judge and chastise, but believe me, they envy you.
Allow me to let you in on one of life’s great secrets:
A Lion does not concern himself with the opinion of sheep.
This quote is, in my opinion, the condensed version of the famous Man in the Arena that Teddy Roosevelt made famous. It took me a while to learn this, as it is a deep and profound concept to wrap your head around. But let me tell from direct experience, this is absolutely true. From my personal experience and in racquetball as the context, most of the people sitting on the outside of the glass court watching me play wished they could be inside the court instead. Many never really tried; they didn’t put in the effort that I or my opponent who had also made the finals did. They want the gold without being willing to dig until they find it. Some never even buy a shovel, some will start to dig but give up after the work becomes more than they can tolerate.
Back to the movie…the up’s and down’s in this movie are based on a true story, which is what made it so compelling. This wasn’t a Hollywood fantasy story, this actually happened. Not only did Rudy overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, but his team mates recognized his efforts as well. Don’t ever think what you do goes unnoticed. Whether you do nothing or you shoot for the moon, people notice. Your friends and family notice, your kids notice, your co-workers notice. You can inspire others by doing simple things like getting into better shape or quitting smoking. You don’t have to move mountains to feel successful, being a great parent is not an easy job and can take just as much intestinal fortitude as many other endeavors. So don’t get it twisted, you don’t need to be in the spotlight or make millions of dollars to consider yourself a success.
This movie is about never giving up. Despite the hand you’ve been dealt, if you keep pushing, you can accomplish many things. I wasn’t going to be a Pro Tennis player, at 5’7″ it’s just not in the cards. But I found a sport that I could excel in despite the lack of stature. I wanted to be a wrestler in high school, but an injury early on changed all of that. Sometime things that seem terrible at the time is just one door closing and another opening. In most cases, you’ll need hindsight to understand that. I didn’t want to get hit head-on by a wrong way drunk driver, but if this hadn’t happened I may never have become a public speaker. This literally was the impetus to get me to finally pursue something I was very interested in most of my life, but never took the steps to become a speaker.
You need to watch this movie, it is that good, in my opinion. You need to be privy to people overcoming the odds and pulling through. You NEED the motivational exposure on occasion to remind you just how capable you are. How capable we ALL are, given the right motivation. Despite having a huge affinity for sports heroes, I consider many human accomplishments on par with the things athletes get recognized for. I know several people who’s life has been way harder than mine, some due to their own doing and others just circumstance. But if you say that at one time they were operating at a “minus 4” level, and have clawed and scratched their way back to a “plus 2”, that is a huge swing. Despite only being at a “plus 2” on a scale of 1-10, it was a huge accomplishment to get there from where they were. Drug abuse, eating disorder, financial disasters, whatever, we all have some form of a dragon to fight and kill.
It is what will define your life in many ways. How you handled yourself in these times will be very indicative of how you handle yourself in many other scenarios. Can you will yourself forward, sword in hand, and face your dragon? That is the question in life for all of us. If you need some help on this, watch movies like Rudy, Rocky, and Hoosiers. There were created to remind all of us just how much we can accomplish and overcome when we apply ourselves.